the kitchen was the only evidence of ordinary civili-
zation—that and Barton's shining pince-nez, and the
maps and notebooks which were on the table. . . ,
Smoked salmon from Piccadilly Circus was some-
thing after all. It cheered Barton immensely. He
unpacked it; he sniffed it; and no doubt it brought
the lights of London into his mind.
"Gosh, if only this war would stop!" he exclaimed.
"I'd be off to Scott's oyster-bar like a streak of light
and you'd never get me away from it again!"
He held the smoked salmon under Dick's nose and
told him what a lucky young devil he was to be going
on leave in two or three days' time, Dick wasn't as
bright as usual; he'd got a rotten headache, he said.
Barton told him he'd better let Ormand go out with
the wiring-party instead of him. But he said no, he'd
be all right by then, and Ormand had been out last
night. Barton told me they'd had a lively time with
the G.O. lately: "He gave orders for the whole of
the front line to be re-wired; we've been at it every
night, but he came up this morning with his big
periscope, strafing like hell about the gaps along by
the mine-craters. He says the wire isn't strong
enough to stop a wheelbarrow—why a wheelbarrow
God knows!" He laughed, rather hysterically; his
nerves were on edge, and no wonder. . . . For, as he
said, what with the muck everything was in since the
snow melted, and being chivvied by Kinjack, and
then being "crumped" all the afternoon, life hadn't
been worth living lately. The odd thing was that
good old Barton seemed equally concerned because
the snowy weather had prevented me from having
any hunting while on leave. And Dick agreed that
it had been very rough on me.
Mansfield and Ormand came in at that moment;